ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 25, 2009) - Joel Lipperini, of Pittston, Penn., captured his third-career National Championship in Showroom Stock C at the 46th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. 2008 Champion Joe McClughan, of New Braunfels, Tex., and Morgan Hill, Calif.-native Ali Naimi completed the podium.
Lipperini led start-to-finish in his No. 81 RaceLabz/BFGoodrich/RaceShop Acura Integra LS to claim a 5.74-second victory. The race was Lipperini’s first in the Acura.
“We took a gamble this year,” Lipperini said. “The car that I won my two National Championships with after driving the last couple of years I decided to retire right before this event. We built the Acura, and the first time I drove it was 15 feet into the trailer to come here. We took a big gamble, but it paid off. The car was great all week.
“Every win feels good. This one is nice because I actually won it on the track. Winning in the tech shed is one thing, but this is great. We savored it. That had to be the slowest victory lap ever. We wanted to take three [riders in the car], but they were going to kick us off the track.”
Lipperini also collected the SCCA Club Racing Super Sweep for winning the Runoffs, the nationwide point standings, the Northeast Division Championship and one of nine key National races, each in SSC.
McClughan, just eight weeks removed from quintuple bypass surgery, and Naimi spent most of the first part of the race in a four-way battle for second place. Naimi, driving the No. 14 Hoosier/Mazda/OffLineRacing.com MAZDA3 S, made one run at McClughan in the No. 36 McClughan Racing enterprises/Mazda MAZDA3 S heading into Turn Three on Lap 12. After that pass failed, Naimi couldn’t get close enough for the remainder of the 13-lap, 52-mile race.
The eventual third place for Naimi was his best career Runoffs finish.
John Phllips, of Sealy, Texas, finished fourth in the No. 01 MRE/Mazda/Hoosier/Red Line PRP MAZDA3S. Driving the No. 00 Hoosier/FeedUS/RedLine Oil/Carbotech MAZDA3S Jonathan Start, of Caledonia, Mich., completed the top five.d
Eric Van Cleef, of Huntsville, Ala., turned the race’s fastest lap and was running in second place when a transmission problem forced him out of the race with two laps to go. Van Cleef turned a race-best 2:49.975 (84.718 mph) around the 14-turn, 4-mile Road America circuit.
Daniel Geiger, of Minneapolis, Minn., earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award after improving 10 positions to finish 10th behind the wheel of the No. No. 53 Hoosier/Maggiano’s/David Hobbs Honda Honda Civic Si.
The Showroom Stock C National Championship race will be available on demand at ww.speedcasttv.com/scca shortly after the conclusion of the 2009 SCCA National Championship Runoffs.